Tag Archive | shepherd

Can You Understand Who God is? John 14:7-10

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For some reason this year Buddy has decided to watch me when I vacuum or wash the floors. I don’t know what he finds so endlessly fascinating about observing me clean the house, but I enjoy his company. However, sometimes he gets in the way and I keep asking him to: “Buddy, please move.” He doesn’t move out of the way. So I say more emphatically, because I don’t want to hit him with the vacuum cleaner or sponge, “Buddy, move!” And he doesn’t move, so I gently nudge him out of the way.

It suddenly occurred to me this week that maybe Buddy doesn’t understand what I’m saying. He might just hear, “Buddy…yada yada yada yada,” and is thinking to himself, “You’re calling me. I’m here.” He might just think I’m asking him to be near me, not that I want him to move out of the way.

People often say, and I believe quite wrongly, that the Old Testament God is a very angry and unkind God, different from the New Testament God. But the New and Old Testament Gods are the same Triune God (Father, Son and Holy Spirit):

“Then God said, ‘Let Us make man in Our image, according to Our likeness’…God created man in His own image, in the image of God He created him; male and female He created them.)–Genesis 1:26-27

“Us” refers to the triune nature of God.

So how does that relate to the Buddy story?

When you look at the natural world, it’s broken. There’s earthquakes, floods and famines. Nature is cruel and arbitrary. Animals hunt down and kill each other. Cats torment and play with mice. Good people suffer terribly and die young while evil people live long and do great harm to others. It would seem that God is cruel. When we look into outer space or at grand mountain peaks, we can understand that God is magnificent or very powerful, but how can we understand that He loves us and wants a love relationship with us? That God is love? (1 John 4:8)

Jesus didn’t mince words. He wasn’t always lovey-dovey. His first sermon was to call people to “Repent, for the kingdom of Heaven is at hand” (Matthew 3:2). He warned about Hell. But also He healed the sick, opened the eyes of the blind, drove demons out of people who were tormented by evil, provided wine at a wedding (His first miracle) to save a family from embarrassment when they were running out of the beverage, fed thousands and healed the lame. He also eased people’s conscience’s by forgiving their sins (Mark 2:1-12).

Yet, even the apostles often didn’t get who Jesus was after all the miracles and the great patience He continually showed to them, even when they acted petty and boastful. And their needs were always met during the three plus years they spent following Him.

Jesus said to His disciples after the Lord’s supper, shortly before His Crucifixion:

“If you had known Me, you would have known My Father also; from now on you know Him, and have seen Him.”

“Philip said to Him, ‘Lord, show us the Father and it is enough for us.”

Jesus said to him, “Have I been so long with you, and yet you have not come to know me, Philip? He who has seen Me has seen the Father; how can you say, ‘Show us the Father?’ Do you not believe that I am in the Father, and the Father is in Me? The words that I say to you I do not speak on My own initiative, but the Father abiding in Me does His works.”–John 14:7-10

It was so difficult to comprehend that the Father loves people so much that He sent His Son to dwell amongst us, that even after His resurrection, some still weren’t getting it:

“When they saw Him, they worshipped Him, but some were doubtful.”–Matthew 28:17

Jesus walked amongst us to demonstrate that He loves us and wants to fellowship with us. Imagine, this Almighty God Who created the vast universe and our planet, knows every thought and action we’ve ever had or will have, notes every sparrow that falls and even knows how many hairs are on our heads (Matthew 10:29-30) wants to be in relationship with us and show His love to us on a personal level. He showed how valuable we are to Him by taking on human flesh and dwelling with us.

This great and awesome God took on human flesh! This all powerful, omniscient God.

So that we could understand what He’s been saying for thousands of years to humankind: I love you. And I love you individually.

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If you’d like to be in relationship with this loving God, please say this prayer: “Lord, I want to get to know You. You are holy and perfect and I am not. So please forgive me of my sins and enter into my life. Show me how much You love me. Please help me get my life straightened out. And help me learn to love and follow You in the “paths of righteousness” (Psalm 23:3) as my loving, all-powerful Shepherd.”

Congratulations on joining the biggest family ever: believers throughout history and throughout the earth. Please find a Bible-believing church to fellowship with Christian believers. Also, get a Bible and begin to read it, starting with the book of Matthew, so that you can begin to understand Who this God is Who loves you.

 

 

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How to Pray Psalm 23

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It occurred to me, when posting a few minutes ago, that perhaps not everyone reading my posts understands how to pray through a passage of Scripture.  I’ve found a method that our pastor’s wife taught me during Bible study very helpful. I was a Christian for nearly 25 years before I knew this technique.

I highly recommend memorizing Psalm 23; it’s short and you can recite it quickly anyplace you feel comfortable doing so. The below is from the NASB version. I prefer it because it is very poetic and supposedly the best word-for-word translation, but not always the most easily understood.

You recite a portion of Scripture then pray on it. The below is not what I say every time or it’d be a stale, rote prayer. This is just an example to give you an idea of how to do it, not something to recite.

“The Lord is my Shepherd; I shall not want.” Thank you, Lord, that You are leading and guiding me through this day. Thank you that You promise to meet all my needs so that I don’t have to worry. You love me and care about me. May I be wise enough to listen to Your voice and follow You and Your path.

“He makes me lie down in green pastures;” Thank you, Lord, that You will only lead me to green pastures. When I need rest, You force me to lie down and take care of myself. You don’t make me lie down in the mud, but where I’ll be refreshed.

“He leads me beside quiet waters. He restores my soul;” Lord, thank You for providing me with a quiet place to rest. I don’t calm my soul. You take responsibility for restoring and calming my soul. It isn’t something I can grunt out in my own effort. You calm my spirit.

“He guides me in the paths of righteousness For His name’s sake.” Lord, You will never lead me to do evil. I can always count on You to guide me in the right path. When I start to stray, You will warn me and encourage me back onto the path that’s best for my life and Your glory. If I get stubborn and insist on wandering off, You’ll discipline me and get me back where I belong, following You.

“Even though I walk through the valley of the shadow of death, I fear no evil, for You are with me;” Lord, when life sucks, I’m not stuck there. You promise to lead me out to the other side and to be with me the entire journey. I don’t need to fear evil because You’re with me. I’m not traveling this path of life alone.

“Your rod and Your staff, these comfort me.” You are able to guide me back onto the right path with Your staff and You can protect me from my enemies with Your rod. Anyone who wants to harm me has to deal with You.

“You prepare a table before me in the presence of my enemies;” (The table here is a mountaintop of good grass the shepherd leads his sheep to. He prepares the table by pulling out the noxious weeds and anything that’s harmful to the sheep before allowing them to graze.) Lord, You’re leading me to a place of safety and protection. If I follow Your will according to Your Word, it’s going to take me to a good place.

“You’ve anointed my head with oil; My cup overflows.” Thank you for this beautiful day, the love of my family, that I can see, hear, taste, feel, etc… (Express thankfulness for your blessings.)

“Surely goodness and lovingkindness will follow me all the days of my life. And I will dwell in the house of the Lord forever.” Thank you, Lord, that I don’t need to fear death. There is not a moment You’re not with me and I will dwell with You forever when I leave this life. I can count on You to help me when I mess up and turn it around for good (Romans 8:28) because of Your loving care.

In Jesus’ name, Amen.

I highly recommend the book, “A Shepherd Looks At Psalm 23,” by Phillip Keller to get a better understanding what King David had in mind when he composed the psalm.

Have a glorious day.